(AP) -- The Sacramento Kings have made strides defensively from last season, but the winless team needs to be much better offensively as well.The Kings look to avoid their first 0-4 start in four seasons in Monday night's home opener against the Golden State Warriors, who are seeking their first 3-0 road start in 18 years.With the Kings ranking last in the NBA last season in scoring defense (104.4 points per game) and field-goal percentage defense (47.6), coach Keith Smart put an emphasis on improving those numbers coming into 2012-13. The result has been Sacramento giving up 97.0 ppg and 39.2 percent shooting, while Kings opponents have gone 8 for 48 (16.7 percent) from 3-point range.Sacramento's second-half defense has been even more impressive, as the club is allowing an average of 42.0 points and 34.8 percent shooting.The Kings limited Indiana to 35 total points in the third and fourth quarters Saturday, but couldn't overcome giving up 38 in the second quarter of a 106-98 double-overtime loss."We gotta figure out a way to keep that (second-half) defense for 48 minutes," guard Tyreke Evans said. "We get down and then we try to pick it back up. We can't do that. We've got to start from the beginning. I think that's how we're going to get our first win."Improved shooting might also help that happen. The Kings, who opened 0-4 in 2008-09, are scoring 88.3 points per game and hitting 37.5 percent from the field."The thing is, we were so focused on being a defensive team. We kinda want to worry about the offense now," said big man DeMarcus Cousins, who's shooting 38.9 percent - well below his career mark of 43.8.The Warriors (2-1) have not won their first three road games since 1994-95. In their last trip to Sacramento on March 13, Golden State won a season-best third consecutive road contest 115-89.The Warriors are looking to build on Saturday's 114-110 road victory over the Los Angeles Clippers. A day earlier, reserve guard Brandon Rush was lost for the season with an ACL tear."We don't quit," coach Mark Jackson said. "We had every reason to quit, but we gutted it out and we defended."That defense and the team's rebounding could improve with center Andrew Bogut expected to return after missing one game, with rookie Festus Ezeli recording eight points and five rebounds in his place Saturday. For the time being, the Warriors do not plan on playing Bogut on back-to-back nights due to the fractured left ankle he suffered last season Milwaukee.The Warriors are outrebounding opponents by 5.3 per contest, with David Lee and Carl Landry leading the way with 50 combined boards.The Kings, who have been outrebounded by an average of 12.0, had a 199-158 advantage on the glass against Golden State last season but dropped three of four.
Jack Cooley must have made a good impression on the Kings during the recently completed Las Vegas Summer League.
The former Notre Dame will sign a two-way contract with Sacramento, a league source confirmed to NBCSportsCalifornia.com's James Ham.
Cooley averaged 9.2 points, 6.6 rebounds and shot 64 percent over five games during Summer League action.
Cooley had other offers from teams overseas, but is hoping for another shot in the NBA.
Undrafted in 2013, Cooley's only NBA action came with Utah during the 2014-15 season. He averaged 1.7 points and 1.6 rebounds in 16 games.
News of a deal was first reported by 2ways10days.com's Chris Reichert.
SACRAMENTO -- The one that got away.
News broke Friday afternoon of another player move from the Sacramento Kings. A transaction 22 years in the making was finally completed when according to a published report, the Kings renounced the rights to 6-foot-7 Serbian, Dejan Bodiroga.
The Sacramento Kings have renounced the draft rights for Dejan Bodiroga. He's a free agent. He's 44 years old.— Keith Smith (@KeithSmithNBA) July 21, 2017
The now 44-year-old wing has been retired since 2007. He’s known around the basketball circles as one of the greatest European players to never to come to the NBA.
Drafted by Geoff Petrie with the 51st overall selection in the 1995 NBA Draft, Sacramento tried multiple times to get the sharpshooter to come to the states. It was always a longshot, but after selecting Corliss Williamson and Tyus Edney with his first two selections, Petrie took a late-round gamble.
Bodiroga has a trophy case full of awards, including a Spanish League MVP, a FIBA World Cup MVP and a Greek League MVP. He also won championships in the Italian, Greek and Spanish Leagues, as well as silver medal in the 1996 Olympic games.
He is also on the list of the 50 Greatest EuroLeague Contributors along with fellow Serbian and current Sacramento Kings General Manager, Vlade Divac.
Kings fans reacted on Twitter to the news in standard fashion:
End of an era!— Kevin Fippin (@kfippin) July 21, 2017
They have held this dude’s rights for my entire adult life. https://t.co/W7hGSLlGRi
UGHHHHHHHHHH. The effects of Perry being gone are already being felt https://t.co/PoS00F8kKf— John (@HeuristicLineup) July 21, 2017
Kings should've held on to Bodiroga, had him come in and mentor that young upstart Vince Carter.— Bart Roberts (@BartonRoberts) July 22, 2017